36. Wailing Wall

Here is the final piece, done with Sennelier oil pastels on Strathmore Bristol paper, vellum finish. My immediate goal was to contrast the apparent ambient light between the women and the wall. I want to symbolize the idea that prayer is a physical manifestation of reaching towards light. Using greys and violets, I subdued the light around the women. But on the higher wall surfaces, I worked an overlay of titanium white over an initial application of the stone’s tans & yellows. It’s not quite a “whitewash” effect, but enough value change to suggest illumination. In a landscape piece, you could use this contrast to suggest sunrise or sunset, where light strikes the wall above their heads. But in this piece, my intent is to show the subjects striving to connect to the light.

Some artistic license. I applied metallic colors into women’s clothing, matching values where possible. I removed the woman who was dressed in more contemporary clothing from the image altogether. On the small table immediately behind the women, there is a small pad of note paper – the written prayers which visitors to the Wailing Wall insert into the cracks of the stone.

The most compelling figure of the group is the woman dressed in black. In her, I see a more physical, energetic form of prayer. She is the only woman without a head covering. Her hair is red – not just to provide color relief to her black overcoat, but also to portray an inner fire. Strength. Courage. Defiance. We can’t know this from her face, which she buries beneath her uplifted arm, but her body language speaks more loudly than her face.

~ by Delfino on 2018/04/01.

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